Sunday was a day of mixed emotions for Atlético Madrid. Diego Simeone's troops entered the day knowing that a win would elevate them to the top of La Liga, but the win would have to come against a tough Athletic side now marshaled by a former hero. Raúl Garcíá, who stood squarely in the middle of Atleti's turnaround at the end of the 2000's and into the following decade, made his emotional return to the Vicente Calderón as an Athletic player, and his side looked to play spoiler and end the rojiblanco unbeaten run. On the stroke at halftime, it certainly looked possible after Aymeric Laporte's 27th minute goal put the visitors ahead.
...Only for so long, however. Saúl Ñíguez equalized from a corner with the final kick of the first half and Antoine Griezmann secured the three points with an incredible left-footed strike midway through the second half. Atlético's unbeaten run in all competitions now stands at 14, and that streak includes eight consecutive wins.
Ready for the ratings? See below:
Jan Oblak, GK: 7
Made two outstanding saves on Athletic forward Aritz Aduriz on either side of halftime. The first he parried over the bar after the Basque forward attempted a cheeky lob (it resulted in the corner that led to Athletic's goal, but still), and Aduriz would be denied again in the second half after Oblak came out to meet him one-on-one.
Juanfran, RB: 6
Not Juanfran's most influential game going forward, but the Spanish international stayed the course and was quite sturdy in defense.
Diego Godín, CB: 7
Godín played a part in shutting down Raúl García but was perhaps fortunate he had Oblak playing behind him to deny Aduriz on multiple occasions. Bombed forward with aplomb and was still able to clean up at the back, as he often does so well. Committed only one foul and was a beast in the air.
José Giménez, CB: 7
Giménez was more conservative in his approach Sunday and rarely ventured forward. Not nearly the force in the air Godín was, but barely put a foot wrong as the defense tightened up after over the final 35 or so minutes.
Filipe Luís, LB: 6
Filipe's best moments Sunday did not come in attack. The Brazilian's passing was uncharacteristically sloppy (he completed less than 70% of his passes) but was pretty steady when called upon to defend.
Saúl Ñíguez, RM: 8
Saúl is growing up right before our eyes. The 21-year-old scored in a second straight game Sunday and was a disruptive presence on the right in attack and drifting centrally to close gaps in defense. Gabi is drifting deeper and and playing Tiago's role defensively, but Saúl's progress has been instrumental in keeping the midfield together and his knack for big goals is reminiscent of that one Portuguese midfielder.
Gabi, CM: 7
Good outing for Gabi, despite the late booking. Full of energy and willing to cover every blade of grass, had a couple mix-ups in front of the back four that led to Athletic chances but did a much better job shielding the quartet as the game wore on.
Koke, CM: 8
Notched another assist on the Saúl goal as his set piece delivery works its way back to 2013-14 levels, was unlucky to not have another on his ledger after Vietto had his goal ruled offside. So, yeah, he's playing well.
Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, LM: 5
Had a volleyed attempt saved by Gorka Iraizoz directly before the Saúl goal but not nearly as troublesome on the left wing as we've become used to seeing. Not the Belgian's best game, and he was subbed off before the hour.
Antoine Griezmann, FW: 7
Produced a moment of genius in a game where he otherwise struggled to find his bearings. Griezmann has scored in each of Atlético's last three league games and the talisman's tally in La Liga is now up to eight.
Luciano Vietto, FW: 5
Vietto nearly scored in a second consecutive game, but his diving header was ruled offside inside 20 minutes. The Argentine didn't really influence proceedings otherwise as he continues to adapt and rebuild his strength.
Ángel Correa, FW: 6
Came on for Carrasco in the 58th minute. Worked hard to win the ball outside the box and left it for Griezmann so the Frenchman could lash home the winner. Got an assist for his efforts.
Fernando Torres, FW: 5
Came on for Vietto in the 61st minute. Torres now has gone 15 games without a goal and remains stuck on 99 for his Atlético career.
Stefan Savic, CB: N/A
Came on for Griezmann in the 88th minute. Like Giménez in midweek, called upon to help see out a tight game.